Who: Admiral Grey, Bizzy Barefoot, Brandt Adams, Irene Hsi, James (Face) Yu, Julienne Marié, Karen Grenke, Mark Lindberg, Robin Kurtz, Stacia French
What: Virtual reimagining of 2011 interactive performance at Brookfield Place
Where: Arts Brookfield website
When: Live each Wednesday in June, replayed Sundays in June, free, noon - 6:00
Why: In May 2011, the Nerve Tank presented the three-day performance installation The Attendants at the World Financial Center Winter Garden, an interactive work in which the audience could text barefoot actors in dark suits, gloves, and sunglasses moving inside and around a large transparent plexiglass cube; you can see clips from the show, in which the actors respond to the texts with only their body, here. The New York City-based Nerve Tank is teaming up again with Arts Brookfield for The Attendants 2020, which will take place in the small rectangular box of the internet instead of a large cube in a spacious, lovely atrium, a different kind of confinement. Part of the #BFPLatHome program, The Attendants 2020 will be performed live every Wednesday in June (June 3, 10, 17, 24) from noon to 6:00 and will be replayed every Sunday (June 7, 14, 21, 28) at the same time. Chance Muehleck conceived the piece and wrote the lyrics; the director and choreographer is Melanie S. Armer, while Stephan Moore composed the score and designed the sound. The prerecorded voices are Annie Dorsen and Jonathan Vandenberg; the cast features original Attendants Karen Grenke, Bizzy Barefoot, Stacia French, James (Face) Yu, Robin Kurtz, Mark Lindberg, and Irene Hsi in addition to Admiral Grey, Brandt Adams, and Julienne Marié, responding from wherever they are sheltering in place, prepared to address current issues that have the whole world on edge.
Who: Ari Shapiro, Alex the Astronaut, Big Freedia, Bright Light Bright Light, Cameron Esposito, Courtney Barnett, Claud, Dorian Electra, Girl in Red, Jake Shears, Joy Oladokun, Kat Cunning, Madame Gandhi, mxmtoon, Nakhane, Pabllo Vittar, Pet Shop Boys, Roxane Gay, Indigo Girls, SOKO, Tig Notaro & Stephanie Allynne, Tunde Olaniran, Rufus Wainwright, VINCINT, more
What: Virtual Pride celebration
Where: Smithsonian Pride Alliance YouTube page
When: Sunday, May 31, free with advance RSVP, 8:00
Why: June is Pride Month, and the festivities honoring the LGBTQIA+ community, especially here in New York City, have grown exponentially, particularly over the last few years with the fiftieth anniversary of Stonewall and, in 2020, the fiftieth anniversary of the parade itself. Among the parties that will not be held during the pandemic are the Pride Luminaries Brunch, the Rooftop Party, the March, Teaze, Pride Island, and PrideFest, although NYC Pride is planning such virtual gatherings as the Criminal Queerness Festival June 9-29, Savor Pride, a Garden Party on June 22, the Human Rights Conference on June 25, the Rally on June 26, Pride 2020 Dragfest June 19-21, a Runstreet Virtual Pride 5K Art Run June 20-28, and more. Everything kicks off May 31 at 8:00 with the Smithsonian Pride Alliance’s “Project Pride,” a free, livestreamed concert and time capsule, a collaboration with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Museum of American History, the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, and others. Hosted by NPR’s Ari Shapiro, the event will feature appearances by Courtney Barnett, Jake Shears, Pet Shop Boys, Roxane Gay, Indigo Girls, Rufus Wainwright, Tig Notaro & Stephanie Allynne, and many more, accompanied by art and historical artifacts from the Smithsonian collections.
Who: Mikki Shepard, DJ YB, Mamma Normadien, Baba N’goma Woolbright, Charmaine Warren, Abdel R. Salaam, Karen Thornton Daniels, Sabine LaFortune, Coco Killingsworth, Farai Malianga, more
What: BAM’s DanceAfrica
Where: BAM online
When: Through May 29 (and beyond), free (some film screenings require small payment)
Why: One of our favorite ways of ushering in the summer season is by going to BAM’s annual DanceAfrica festival, a weekend of dance, films, a street bazaar, and more celebrating African culture. The forty-second annual event is taking place online, with livestreamed performances, film screenings, archival videos, interviews, classes, and a virtual bazaar. “The spirit of DanceAfrica has no boundaries, and will always find its way to the people,” Baba Abdel R. Salaam said in a statement. Below is the full schedule. And be prepared to shout “Ago!” “Amée!!” from the comfort of wherever you are sheltering in place.
Through May 27
FilmAfrica: Aya of Yop City (Marguerite Abouet & Clément Oubrerie, 2012), Mother of George (Andrew Dosunmu, 2012), Rafiki (Wanuri Kahiu, 2018), Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love (Chai Vasarhelyi, 2008), pay-what-you-wish to $4.99
Through May 29
“DanceAfrica Visual Art: Omar Victor Diop”
Through June 14
DanceAfrica Virtual Bazaar, with clothing, jewelry, home goods, food, and accessories
Monday, May 25
“DanceAfrica: The Early Years,” with Mikki Shepard, 11:00 am
DanceAfrica Dance Party, with DJ YB, 7:00
Tuesday, May 26
“DanceAfrica: Behind the Scenes,” with Abdel R. Salaam, Charmaine Warren, and Council of Elder members Mamma Normadien and Baba N’goma Woolbright, 6:00
Wednesday, May 27
“DanceAfrica: The Council of Elders,” with Stefanie Hughley and Council of Elder leaders Mamma Lynette White-Mathews and Baba Bill (William) Mathews, 6:00
Thursday, May 28
“Education and DanceAfrica,” with Karen Thornton Daniels, Sabine LaFortune, Coco Killingsworth, and Abdel R. Salaam, 6:00
Opens Thursday, May 28
FilmAfrica: A Screaming Man (Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, 2010), Chez Jolie Coiffure (Rosine Mbakam, 2018), I Am Not a Witch (Rungano Nyoni, 2017), National Diploma (Dieudo Hamadi, 2014), prices TBD
“DanceAfrica: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” with Coco Killingsworth, Charmaine Warren, and Abdel R. Salaam, 6:00
Who: Charles Busch, Phoebe Legere, Penny Arcade, Austin Pendleton, David Amram, F. Murray Abraham, William Electric Black, more
What: Live concert and summit (and many other events)
Where: Theater for the New City
When: Saturday, May 23, free, 8:00 (festival runs May 22-24)
Why: Since 1996, Theater for the New City’s annual Lower East Side Festival of the Arts has been a harbinger of summer, three days of multidisciplinary performances taking place in and around the organization’s East First St. home. But the twenty-fifth anniversary of the popular weekend event goes virtual because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean it’s slowed down in the least. From May 22 to 24, the festival, whose theme is “Renaissance: Arts Alive 25,” will feature 250 participants providing music, dance, theater, discussion, and more, all for free. The centerpiece occurs on May 23 at 8:00 with “The Mt. Olympus of LES Love!,” a concert with an amazing lineup consisting of Charles Busch, Phoebe Legere, Penny Arcade, Austin Pendleton, David Amram, F. Murray Abraham, and William Electric Black, followed by a summit that attempts to answer the question “Where do we go from here?”
The three-day celebration will feature such speakers as Nii Gaani Aki, Michael Musto, Brad Hoylman, Carlina Rivera, and Candice Burridge; theater excerpts with Barbara Kahn, Anne Lucas, Eve Packer, Greg Mullavey, the Drilling Company, Folksbiene National Yiddish Theater, Nuyorican Poets Café, and others; comedy from Reno, Stan Baker, Trav S.D., Wise Guise, Izzy Church, Epstein and Hassan, and Ana-Maria Bandean with Gemma Forbes; dance with Ashley Liang Dance Company, Constellation Moving Co., Dixon Place, H.T. Chen & Dancers, Wendy Osserman Dance Company, Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, and Zullo/RawMovement; music by Donald Arrington, Allesandra Belloni, Michael David Gordon and the Pocket Band, Art Lillard, and Yip Harburg Rainbow Troupe; cabaret with KT Sullivan, Marissa Mulder, Eric Yves Garcia, Aziza, and Peter Zachari; and poetry readings by Coni Koepfinger, Tsaurah Litzky, Lola Rodriguez, Bob Rosenthal, Lissa Moira, and Brianna Bartenieff; along with puppetry, film screenings, children’s events, and visual art, all for free, although donations are gladly accepted.
Stephen Petronio Company
May 13 - June 14, free
Manhattan-based Stephen Petronio Company’s New York season at the Joyce was supposed to run May 12-17 but was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. So SPC is reaching back to its past and jumping into the future with a monthlong series of online events during the Covid-19 shutdown, some of which were scheduled to take place at the Joyce. Beginning May 15 at 8:00 pm and continuing through May 22 at 10:00 am, the Joyce will show the troupe’s April 11, 2019, Skirball performance of American Landscapes in its JoyceStream program and Bring Dance Home initiative; the twenty-five-minute piece features visual design by Robert Longo and an original score by Jozef Van Wissem and Jim Jarmusch and will be followed by a talkback with Petronio and Joyce director of programming Aaron Mattocks.
From May 18 to June 14, the Merce Cunningham Trust Centennial Repertory Festival will stream Tread, which SPC performed at Skirball as part of its Bloodlines homage on July 27, 2018; Cunningham’s original, with set design by Bruce Nauman, debuted in 1970. Also available will be a conversation between Patricia Lent, Jennifer Goggans, and Petronio about the work. And on May 29 at 6:00, Petronio will introduce #LoveSpreadsFaster, anchored by the world premiere of #GimmeShelter, a new Zoom collaboration with his dancers from wherever they are sheltering in place, along with Jaqlin Medlock performing the “Danse Sacrale” solo from Petronio’s 1992 Full Half Wrong. On May 30 at 6:00, #LoveSpreadsFaster features _AShadowPrince, a video solo by dancer and choreographer Johnnie Cruise Mercer that is the first commissioned work of Petronio’s “Bloodlines(future)” project, paying homage to those who came before while looking ahead at what comes next.
Who: Cate Blanchett, Jeanne Donovan Fisher, Zadie Smith, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Julie Anne Stanzak, Hope Boykin, St. Vincent, DJ Eli Escobar
What: BAM Virtual Gala
Where: BAM website
When: Wednesday, May 13, free (donations accepted), 8:00
Why: BAM’s annual gala cannot be held in person this year in Brooklyn, so it will instead take place virtually, and everyone is invited; it’s free to watch live, although donations are accepted, with 10% of the proceeds going to the Brooklyn Hospital Center. The 2020 honorees are two-time Oscar winner and Tony nominee Cate Blanchett, producer, investor, and philanthropist Jeanne Donovan Fisher, and award-winning novelist Zadie Smith. Paying tribute to the trio are Grammy winners Brooklyn Youth Chorus (who will sing a Philip Glass composition dedicated to Fisher), Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch’s Julie Anne Stanzak (who will dance a solo that will be filmed by Nathalie Larquet in tribute to Blanchett), Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Hope Boykin (who will present a short film for Smith), St. Vincent (whose appearance can only be seen live; it will not be rebroadcast), and DJ Eli Escobar (who will host a living room dance party), all of whom have previously performed at BAM. “Moving to an online, virtual format gives BAM an exciting opportunity to open its gala experience to a wider audience, pay tribute to our amazing honorees in new ways, and gather the arts community in a challenging time. We are excited to share this unique experience as part of our current digital Love from BAM programming,” BAM president Katy Clark said in a statement. The gala also marks the beginning of BAM’s annual online art auction.